Arcade Fire returned to Saturday Night Live for the fifth time, and first since 2018, alongside host and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness star Benedict Cumberbatch.
With their fifth performance, Arcade Fire joins a Five-Timers Club of their own, alongside Miley Cyrus, James Taylor, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. (Arcade Fire had also served as backing band for Mick Jagger’s performance on SNL in 2012)
Following their memorable 2013 appearance, Arcade Fire aired a 30-minute concert special directed by Roman Coppola, and featuring cameos from Bono, Ben Stiller, James Franco, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, and more. During the special, the band performed new songs “Here Comes the Night Time,” “Normal Person” and “We Exist.” Watch the unique performance below.
For tonight’s Saturday Night Live, the show stayed in step with the week’s news as the cold open mocked the root centuries-old argument Justice Alito references in his leaked Dobbs v. Jackson draft. This is SNL at its best, mocking the establishment and bringing to light the modern morality of social issues.
Cumberbatch celebrated mothers in his monologue, including his mom as well as his wife, but no overt Dr. Strange references were found tonight. Although, Cumberbatch was joined later in the show with a surprise appearance by Multiverse of Madness co-star Elizabeth Olson in “The Understudy.“
Noting two of his favorite words are “Arcade Fire”, Cumberbatch introduced the musical guest, who dove into “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” off WE. With wacky waving inflatable tube men in front of the stage, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne led the band through the enchanting number, ending with Butler saying “I Love you Mom.”
On Weekend Update, Kate McKinnon made an appearance as Justice Amy Coney Barrett to discuss the apparent intention to overturn Roe v. Wade (against public opinion) citing laws from the 1600s.
Arcade Fire’s second songs, “The Lightning I,” and its album counterpart “The Lightning II,” were accommpanied by a purple backdrop projecting shadows of the 9-piece band. The uptempo “The Lightning II” raised the vibe on a dime, building a froth while pouring everything into “A day a week a month a year, every second brings me here,” cresting with repitition, and closing with “Waiting on the lightning, waiting on the light, what will the light bring?”
In keeping with the Mother’s Day episode theme, Butler had “Call Your Mom” written onto his guitar during these songs, saying at the end ““A woman’s right to choose forever and ever and ever. Amen.”
To close the show, Cumberbatch and a half dozen cast members wore shirts bearing 1973, a nod to the year of Roe v. Wade. Arcade Fire then took the SNL stage for a third and final song, “End of the Empire I-IV,” as the credits rolled.
Saturday Night Live returns on May 14 with host Selena Gomez and musical guest Post Malone.